Pictures from an Expedition

Alexander C. Irvine, Author
Alexander C. Irvine, Author . Night Shade $14.95 (227p) ISBN 978-1-59780-049-5
Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
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Irvine does a good job of describing intricate, odd settings, but he's less adept at actual storytelling, as shown in the 13 tales ranging from surrealist fantasy to hard SF that constitute his first collection. One of the best, "Gus Dreams of Biting the Mailman," is a charming riff on the old idea of characters aware they're in fiction, like a Philip K. Dick story but without the tension generated by Dick's paranoia. "The Golems of Detroit" has an intriguing alternate-historical setting, a mass-production factory for rabbinically magicked clay soldiers during WWII, but there's little plot or character development. Technical descriptions of mining diamonds on Neptune delay the action in "Shepherded by Galatea." "The Lorelei," on the other hand, offers memorable characters and evokes the kind of real emotion to be found in such Irvine novels as A Scattering of Jades and The Narrows . (Dec.)

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